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Fiscal federalism, North cannot survive without South-South – Okowa Aide

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By Nosa Akenzua 

The executive assistant on communication to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state, Barr Fred Latimo, today [Wednesday] said that, on fiscal federalism, the North cannot survive without the South South.

Latimo, who spoke to journalists in Asaba, said that the North might be making the unity of Nigeria difficult, going by its present position on fiscal federalism adding that “Northern Governors Forum on Monday 27th September, pulled the trigger and challenged the Southern Governors to a battle of leadership and political supremacy, by unequivocally opposing two major demands of the people of Southern Nigeria, namely; collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) as a prelude to the actualisation of fiscal federalism, and zoning of presidency to the South in 2023.” 

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state, who is also the chairman of NGF, conveyed the decision of the forum to Nigerians at a press conference after the governors meeting. He said the valued added tax must remain in the exclusive list while zoning of presidency to Southern Nigeria in 2023, cannot fly because it negates relevant sections of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.

Lalong’s voice was clear, loud and firm when he said that Northern Governors view power rotation as an aberration and, therefore, cannot be discussed as far as 2023 presidential election is concerned. 

According to Latimo, “That said, let me state clearly some other issues that the governors of Northern Nigeria will abhor perpetually as we commence the journey to free Nigeria from the firm grip of the Northern oligarchy. First, is Fiscal Federalism. The North is aware that they cannot survive without the huge resources in Southern Nigeria; oil money, huge revenue from VAT, etcetera.

It is on record that 98% of oil wells in Nigeria are owned and controlled by members of the Northern oligarchy, for themselves and for multinational companies they front for. To secure the wealth of South, the North will never support Fiscal Federalism; oil money, VAT, etcetera. 

The grip on Southern wealth is further revealed in the dirty politics surrounding financial misappropriation at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, wherein the federal government and the Northern oligarchy determines those to be appointed into the board of the commission, who gets what in terms of juicy contracts, and so on and so forth.” 

He went on to say that “The Northern power block is also aware that decentralisation of VAT collection will further reduce their monthly earnings because substantial amount of proceeds from VAT is generated in Southern Nigeria. While the North prohibits alcohol under Sharia Law, it is okay for them to share from the proceeds from VAT on alcohol consumption in the South. You can see that the Northern oligarchy had over the years short-changed the South beyond human comprehension.”

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